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We put Fender’s new guitar tuning app to the test

My battery-powered guitar tuner, received as a present with my first axe, is probably the oldest piece of tech I still use regularly. With my terrible ear for tuning, it hasn’t been under threat in 20 years.

However, a new tuning app from Fender, the makers of the iconic Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars, could change all that.

The Fender Tune app, which is now available for iOS devices, uses the built-in microphone to enable guitar players to stay in tune.

The app, which is one of many tuners available in the App Store, works in much the same way. Users pluck a string and adjust sharp/flat until the desired note is centred.

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Helpfully, there are a huge array of 20+ pre-set configurations, from standard to Drop D to Half Step Down, which many electronic tuners don’t cater for.

There’s also a manual setting for those able to tune by ear and the chromatic mode, which lets you tune a string to any note of your choosing.

If using the built-in microphone, acoustic players will need a near silent room for the tuner to function correctly, as the app often complains the environment is too noisy even when it really isn’t.

Electric players may have more success, but those without an amp handy can also plug their guitars in to the phone, using the Fender Slide accessory for readings without interference. This $80 accessory also makes it possible to record directly to a mobile device or PC.

Currently, the app doesn’t seem to be compatible with the Apple Watch, which you’d assume would be the next logical step for Fender.

So, does the Fender Tune app spell the end my mid-90s battery powered tuner? Nostalgia says no, but my need to play Green Day songs from the same era in half-step tuning means it’s not if, but When I Come Around.

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